periphrastic future

Carl Mills Carl.Mills at UC.EDU
Mon Apr 29 12:12:53 UTC 1996

Regarding John Myhill's "fixin' to V" as an example of periphrastic
future, numerous nonsouthern transplants to the south, especially Texas,
report that this is the one construction they are never likely to master
(or use spontaneously).  On the other hand, John's "I'm fixin' a cake"
'I plan to prepare a cake' is so unremarkable that I thought his
inclusion of that particular construction was an attempt at humor.  Most
of us Border States speakers would say, in response to "What are you
taking to the potluck?" things like "I'm fixin' beans and cornbread" or
"I'm fixin' balled shrimp."  But I doubt that we could say "I'm fixin' a
punkin" or "I'm fixin' a ghost" in response to "What sort of costume is
your preschooler wearing for Halloween?"

I think "fixin' to V" may be a real periphrastic future.  I suspect that
"fixin' a N" is not, at least not in Murrican dialects.


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